Paying doctors directly for referrals is not the only way clinical labs can violate anti-kickback laws. As recent cases show, liability also may be triggered by overpaying doctors for their services, or by giving doctors a discount on clinical services.
This article by TELG managing principal R. Scott Oswald and TELG principal David L. Scher was published by Clinical Laboratory News on February 1, 2015. The full article is available at Clinical Laboratory News.
Trends in Anti-Kickback Litigation: What Clinical Laboratories Should Know
The prototypical kickback scheme is not difficult to spot: one physician pays another for patient referrals. This is a clear violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, 42 U.S. Code § 1320a–7b (AKS), that anyone with even a passing understanding of the law could easily identify.
What becomes more problematic for physicians, employees, and clinical laboratories is where the referring physician is not provided cash in exchange for a referral. Critically, some labs erroneously believe they are playing it safe by offering physicians free or discounted services, among other arrangements. But according to the Department of Justice, these practices still implicate the prohibitions on providing payments in exchange for referrals.